Finns Stop Russian Comeback to Win Karjala Opener

Finns Stop Russian Comeback to Win Karjala Opener

Steven Ellis09 Nov 2017Steven Ellis»
 

Finland started off the Karjala Cup at home on the right foot thanks to a 3-2 win over Russia on Thursday night.

 
 
 
 

Finland started off the Karjala Cup at home on the right foot thanks to a 3-2 win over Russia on Thursday night.

It took only 1:15 for the Finns to beat Igor Shestyorkin in the first. Former Boston Bruins forward Joonas Kemppainen came out of nowhere when he skated into an open spot to the right of the Russian net and sent a quick one-timer past the goalie, finishing off a great read by Mika Koivisto at the other end of the zone.

The Finns looked right at home at the start of the second period, securing a two-goal lead. At 3:10 in the second period, Dallas Stars first-rounder Miro Heiskanen made it 2-0 after sneaking in front of the net and firing a quick shot past Shestyorkin after the Russians failed to track him, giving Finland the 2-0 lead.

The Russians would prove to be the stronger team for the remainder of the second and would tie the battle up at two. At 6:41, Kirill Kaprizov took a feed from Nikita Gusev, who stole the puck at the right face off circle on the turn over. Then, 11 minutes later, Sergei Plotnikov's shot from a tough angle on the left wing somehow squeaked through Mikko Koskinen's right pad and in for the tying goal, an important one heading into the second intermission. 

Russia's inability to pick up the trailing Finnish forwards was one of the main reasons why the Finns took the lead again. This time, Atte Ohtamaa grabbed Marko Anttila's rebound opportunity by breaking through the middle and grabbing the loose puck, potting it past Shestyorkin for the 3-2 goal.

Fighting is not allowed in international hockey, but that didn't stop the tempers from flaring. With five minutes left in the game, Veli-Matti Savinainen and Andrei Zubarev dropped the gloves after a bit of shoving, resulting in both players getting tossed from the contest. Russia couldn't use the momentum to turn the game around, dropping the game 3-2 in the process.

Finland will get Friday off before facing off against Scandinavian nemesis Sweden on Saturday. Russia will also get to sleep in before facing Switzerland in the early game on Saturday.

Follow me on Twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

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